MY FLAVORITE KING & QUEEN
I write from the homes of my favorite and flavorite King and Queen. It is in these two exquisite Royal destinations that I get my first ever taste of two most delicious flavors. That King Alfonso XIII was Queen Maria Cristina’s son, that both set up almost a century old hotels named after themselves is fabulous enough. That both these palaces retain that gracious, royal touch and food to match is what makes the magic happen. They serve only the best of the best.
Its the best of the best. I’m excited to do a hands-on cooking session at the award winning globally acclaimed Mimo cooking school.
Today, I serve you the finest, most rare, little gems of green peas. They’re tiny, seriously tiny and explode with sweetness in my mouth. Rightfully called “green caviar” these peas are also called “tear peas” “guisante lágrima”. Highly prized that, once it is shelled, its value reaches around 200 euros a kilogram. Covered with a thin and fibrous delicate skin, which creates the sensation of an “explosion” in the mouth when I bite into the pea, it’s skin bursts and the sap and sugars are released. It grows in Spain only for a couple of months a year and I’m blessed to be here just at that right time.It’s delicious even raw, but gains flavor when it is slightly steamed or grilled.
I learn how to cook it in the Mimo cooking school is located in the gourmet capital city of Spain San Sebastian. Attached to over a century old iconic palace Maria Cristina beloved of the Royalty Hollywood superstars et al. Here, Chef Jesus Cabellaro and chef Daniel Luque cook up amazing versions of the same “tear peas”
This super glamorous palace hotel combines luxury and high-tech and this outstanding cooking school too. At the handsome, gleaming, well-equipped cooking school, Chef Patricio Fuentes helps me wear my chefs coat and voila it’s time for a hands on cooking session. Sportingly, joining us is the dapper dynamo Ned Capeleris who helms Maria Cristina. From the freshest of tear peas we conjure up many an amazing dish. I devour invaluable information about ingredients and cooking techniques from both.
The award winning Mimo, set up by Jon Warren is truly unique, It’s a food travel company whose culinary tours pintxo tours wine tastings are legendary. And now it has added on a private jet tour to explore the deliciousness of Spain and to take cooking classes too. Talk of taking gourmet to new heights!!
FIRST TIME EVER…
What do flamenco, the cold vegetable soups, gazpacho and salmorejo have in common? I am in the birthplace region of all three, Please take a look at the accompanying photograph. I invited the graceful flamenco dancer to be part of the photograph because we are in the beautiful, historic city of Seville. The birthplace of the flamenco.
We re in the historic landmark of Seville built by the Uber stylish king Alfonso XIII this stunning palace was built as a hotel owned by the City of Seville has a beautiful museum meticulously put together by the dynamic Carlo Suffredini. I love the Moorish Renaissance Baroque styles of architecture. The list of regulars is endless… OmarShariff, TomCruise, Sophia Loren.Im as excited to learn the recipe of Salmorejo, to do the Mimo tapas tasting tour with the knowledgable Aldaras as I am to take my first lesson in flamenco (in a flamenco dress from Lina, Spain’s finest flamenco dress designer ). I had no idea that it originated in the 7th to the 9th centuries here in Spain or that UNESCO declared flamenco one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Or that the beautiful
Gothic Seville Cathedral is the site of Christopher Columbus’s tomb.
King Alfonso XIII ‘s recipe for “salmorejo” :
Ingredients for 6 persons:
1 kilo ripe tomatoes
200 grms rustic white bread
100 ml extra virgin olive oil.
1 clove garlic.
Salt to taste.
Grated hard boiled egg.
Finley diced a corn fed Iberian cured ham.
Extra virgin olive oil.
Method: Wash well the tomatoes, it is important that the tomatoes are at room temperature before you blitz them.
Blitz the tomatoes in a kitchen blender.
In a bowl break up the bread to walnut sized pieces.
Cover with the blitzed tomato, and let rest for 10-15 minutes.
Add the clove of garlic and blitz again.
Lastly we add the olive oil, it is important that the olive oil is good quality as this will help to achieve a proper emulsion.And the end result will be a creamy and thick.
Spoon the salmorejo into previously chilled bowls and garnish with grated hard boiled egg, diced acorn fed Iberian cured ham, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.